Graham Birse, policy director for Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce (ECC), said the buzz surrounding the first all- Edinburgh Cup final in 116 years would bring thousands into the city centre and provide a major shot in the arm for Capital businesses, in particular the food and drinks industry.
Despite the much-hyped game being played at Hampden, in Glasgow, Mr Birse insists that the economic impact for Edinburgh will be “significant” and akin to the revenue generated from a Calcutta Cup match at Murrayfield.
ECC calculations estimate a city-wide windfall of around £1.56m from ticket sales, £2.6m in travel and accommodation and around £5.6m spend on food and drink over Cup Final weekend.
The Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea, broadcast later on the same day, is also expected to persuade revellers to stay out longer – increasing sales opportunities for bars, restaurants and takeaways. Rugby’s Heineken European Cup final will be contested on the same day, and Edinburgh Rugby’s run to the semi-finals had also contributed to a notable “feelgood factor” across the city.
Mr Birse said: “A lot of money is going to be spent in the days leading up to the final in terms of memorabilia, replica strips and hospitality, and on the day of the game. Restaurants, bars and coffee shops are going to get busy early on and, following the big exodus to the game in Glasgow, they will all pile back into the city.
“There will be a significant economic boon for a day or two. The other advantage for the city is the feelgood factor.”
But Colin Paton, chairman of Edinburgh Hotels Association, was less optimistic about potential benefits for the hotel industry.
“I don’t see it being a huge demand generated for Edinburgh hotels,” he said. “If the Cup final was between an Edinburgh team and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, or maybe Aberdeen, then it may make a difference to the hotel trade, but I can’t see it happening for two Edinburgh teams.”
Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said the Cup final would provide a welcome boost for bars at a difficult time for the industry.
“We would agree with the Chamber of Commerce [in terms of the money-making potential], and we have to work hard to keep customers happy, but there will certainly be plenty of customers around both before and after the game.”
Ruth McKay, chair of the Edinburgh Branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, said the Cup final would raise the Capital’s “profile and image” while drawing more people into the city centre.
Manuela Calchini, Regional Director for VisitScotland, added: “It’s all about the visitor economy and pubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels can expect to do a roaring trade over what promises to be a truly memorable weekend.”